The Virginia Cavaliers (4-2) had an opportunity to showcase their talent against the top-ranked Gonzaga Bulldogs (7-0), but this chance was quickly squandered as they could not keep up with the offensive firepower of the nation’s top team on Saturday in Fort Worth, Texas. Prior to this game, UVA hadn’t allowed more than 64 points and no team had scored more than 90 points against the Cavaliers since UNC accomplished the rare feat back in 2013.
UVA started the game with three turnovers, allowing Gonzaga to earn a quick 7-0 lead. Sam Hauser finally ended the scoring run with a three point play, but the Gonzaga Bulldog offense was on fire from the start. Tony Bennett was forced to call a timeout after Gonzaga extended their early lead to 18-5. Out of that timeout, the Hoos went on a 7-0 run that featured two blocks and a dunk by Jay Huff to pull within six.
However, Gonzaga responded with a Corey Kispert three pointer, which became a common theme throughout the game. The Senior forward would go on to tie a school record with nine 3PT in the game (9-13 overall). The Cavaliers had an uncharacteristic 15 turnovers on the day, and Gonzaga repeatedly capitalized on the mistakes.
Kihei Clark kept the UVA offense afloat late in the first half with 11 points, and 9 of the final 12 points of the half as UVA closed with a 7-0 run. Although Clark had six turnovers, he was also the leading scorer for UVA and finished with 19 points and 4 assists. At halftime, the Bulldogs lead 44-31.
The second half started out with the two teams trading points until Gonzaga broke the game open and pushed the lead to 57-35. From this point on it was all Gonzaga. Two players would finish with 20+ points for the Bulldogs, Corey Kispert finished with a career-high 32 and teammate Drew Timme contributed 29 points. Going into the contest, Tony Bennett and the Cavaliers knew that their patented Pack Line defense would have to play perfectly to stop the Bulldogs, and unfortunately for the reigning champions, this was not the case.
Kihei Clark continued to score for the Hoos, and Trey Murphy III had a solid performance with 15 points on 5-7 shooting, but the sporadic bursts of offense from UVA was no match for the offensive onslaught coming from the Bulldogs. The Zags pulled ahead 74-49 with the help of 25 points coming from 13 UVA turnovers. At one point, Corey Kispert and Drew Timme had 57 points combined when the entire UVA team had 58 points. Gonzaga finished with an impressive team total of 26 assists, demonstrating their unselfish play.
Gonzaga’s largest lead of the night was 33 points, and they led 93-63 with three minutes remaining. UVA players Casey Morsell and Justin McKoy scored 11 points in the game’s last minutes, and when the final horn rang, the Bulldogs were victorious 98-75.
Gonzaga will look to continue their impressive early-season run when they face the Northern Arizona Lumberjacks on Monday, while UVA will look to rebound as they head into ACC play against the Notre Dame Fighting Irish on Wednesday.